Friday, 25 June 2010

The beauty of all babies

Is there ever an ugly baby?

It seems as though we are moving closer and closer to have the ability to design our babies. Services are springing up allowing couples around the world, including the UK to select sperm or eggs from people belonging to a club that rates their members according to their beauty. The goal is to give the child an “advantage in life” by ensuring a pleasing physique. Our society seems to value the notion of the body as an investment that will ensure wealth and happiness. In this perspective, certain looks are considered inferior and insulting within socialite groups. We should be aspiring not just for a healthy child. - It should also be a beautiful child. The technology is indeed available for this type of engineering but is it advisable?

Where do these aspirations come from? The media and advertising industries fuel our imagination of what a “beautiful person” looks like in an endless push to get us to buy goods that will transform us into “beautiful people”. Our dissatisfaction with our looks has huge commercial implications for the cosmetics and plastic surgery industry and now possibly for bio-engineering as well. Favouring a particular “aesthetic” view of the body over another is socially and ethically deplorable because it engenders confusion between our identity as human beings and our looks. Although our looks can contribute to the way we perceive ourselves, looks are not the sole determinant of who we are as human beings. We are much more than our looks. Where should we base our concepts of beauty?

Within a Christian perspective, every human being, irrespective of looks, gender, race or ability has the value of being created in God’s image. This perspective recognises the value of the diversity of human differences without stigma. Our humanity is beautifully diverse in all of its manifestations. Our physical appearance is an expression of this diversity, but so are our creativity, inventiveness, generosity and spirituality. Those are the sources of real “inner “beauty. Anything that just favours the external physique is an incursion into the nightmare of eugenics.

The picture is by Davhor.

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